pem airshow 

Airshow a hoot in the heat By Oona Woods The second ever Pemberton Airshow was a hoot says organizer Bruce Van Mook. Up to 3,000 people attended the spectacle, surviving temperatures in the upper 30 at the airstrip July 23. The show included static aircraft displays as well as airborne aerobatics and the renowned talents of the Snowbirds. "It was fun as far as organization went," said Van Mook. "Overall it was a very, very positive experience for all of us. We've had very good comments from people in the community, the RCMP and the Snowbirds." The Snowbirds are Canada's nine-strong aerobatic team flying their Canadair CT-114 Tutor jets in all kinds of wild formations. They are currently on a 45-location tour across North America. "The Snowbirds said Pemberton was the most beautiful setting they've ever flown in," said Van Mook. "But it was also the most challenging place they'd ever flown because of our mountains. It was bumpy air and hard flying. It's good that we challenged them. They compared it to flying a double black diamond." The impressive and exhilarating sight of formation jets streaming past the backdrop of Mount Currie left many people in the crowd in awe. Van Mook was among them. "It was stirring. (Organizing the show) left me emotionally spent, but the tears were almost there. It was so beautiful. The combination of a lot of effort. It was a dream." Another highlight of the show and crowd pleaser was Bill Carter's acrobatics in his Pitt Special. "I think the crowd picked him as one of the most fun to watch. He really flew it around." The organizers of the show are yet to complete their audit but they are pretty sure they lost money on the event. "Not an extreme amount, it's undetermined as yet but I think there was a loss," says Van Mook. "It was just so hot. I think that kept the crowds down. But that's just the municipal, village side of it. The 4 H club raised $3,000 from their food booth and the Pemberton Dragon Boat Racing booth raised $400. It was well worth while for the food vendors. The Whistler Rotary Club did a great job of manning the beer garden but I think it was just too hot to drink beer. It's all a learning curve. The event was an incredible success for Pemberton, considering we're only in our second year. We are in our infancy so hats off to the community for creating something we can build on." Van Mook speculates that future plans may take the focus away from the jets, and put it towards more acrobatic shows as well as static and vintage displays. "I don't think we'll get the jets back. That was a one-shot deal because the fast-moving aircraft have difficulties flying in the confines of our valley. Also we may make it a bi-annual thing... Or we could have a fly in environment. But we definitely need a weekend. What we can do is build towards an event with that focus. That's something Pemberton can become noticed for."

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